Just two short weeks ago I wrote a blog titled “CoronaVirus – To Worry or Not To Worry”.   The blog was on how to avoid this virus, boost the immune system and stay healthy.  In it, I stated I was not yet stockpiling food. A week later I went in and updated that I am personally, in fact stocking up on food and supplies to prepare for social distancing.  When I wrote the blog we’d not yet had a positive case in Austin, Texas. Those 14 days feel like a lifetime ago. Things have changed fast and are changing faster than we can process the information coming at us.

So here we are social distancing/isolating. I am finding myself personally oscillating between…. thankfulness and pure gratitude for the health of my family, my team, and my patients.  And that ‘my more stubborn than even I am’ tenacious father is listening to us and staying home because just 5 short years ago he beat cancer and has an autoimmune disorder. And the anger and sadness of having to cancel our daughter’s 5th birthday celebration and trying to explain to an almost 5 year old why, when we see the neighbor kids outside, we are staying on our side of the street across from them, and that she cannot run over and hug them.  Not to mention, what this looks like for our small businesses and our friends with small businesses who have employees who rely on us to feed their families. It’s all so much. I know, I feel it.
But, there is an end. I know we will prevail as stronger, happier, more grounded, and connected people. I’ve picked up the phone to check on more friends this week than I have in a year. And for that, I am also grateful.

But we are not in the clear yet. With the positive case numbers rising faster than we can keep up with, I have not seen much info coming out from a holistic / functional medicine perspective on how to support your body if you do become ill.  And more importantly how to prevent a virus from damaging the lungs or turning into pneumonia, which is what we really want to avoid as we are seeing that is what is causing so many hospitalizations and fatalities right now. So that is where I want to focus today – what the heck to do if you get sick?  I am not going to sugar coat this, if you do contract a virus you are worried about, you MUST isolate and do ALL the things to heal your body and prevent a further respiratory infection.

Let me preface that this is a novel virus, meaning it is new and there are many unknowns, so I am sticking with what we know to be true about the human body, your immune system and viruses. **Note, this article is written given what we know at this moment on March 28th 2020.  I have read countless medical articles, watched hours of top scientists and live webinars with other doctors speaking on it, I have called every MD and pharmacist I know to pick their brain, and was able to communicate with a number of positive cases. I have compiled what I believe to be the best course of action to keep you healthy!

***Please Note, this is NOT medical advice. If you think you have an illness including COVID-19, please get tested and see your doctor for treatment. The treatment may include coming in to get tested, staying at home and isolating, or going to the hospital.  But you must consult your physician. As a novel virus, this means with its newness there is no known cure. There are currently no approved treatments.  We are seeing patients being told to support with fluids, symptomatic care, and ventilators, if needed. (9) I personally know someone from another state who tested positive with symptoms last week.  She was given cough medicine to keep her comfortable and told to go home, isolate and stay hydrated.

We all know by now from the news the basic symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. I have also learned and want to pass on that this is a virus that binds to the ACE 2 receptors in the body.  The ACE 2 is an enzyme found in most of the major organs in your body.  This enzyme is most predominant in the pneumocytes and enterocytes, meaning it affects your lungs and GI tract.  According to data released form China, first sign in 50.5% of C-19 was GI Issues. (16) I am also seeing this in many people: loose stools, abdominal pain, then loss of taste and/or smell, severe fatigue / malaise, fever, and respiratory issues.  I have not seen this to be mentioned as often in mainstream media but have spoken to positive cases that share these symptoms.  However, I do believe the first symptoms may look differently for everyone based on their body’s chemistry, again please seek care if you suspect a case.

This info below is to support your body to get through an illness as fast as possible.  This is what I would do for myself, my mom, my kiddo, or my husband if, god forbid, we needed it. I am going to list herbs/nutrients and actual products by name/brand that are my favorites.

Here we go!


1. Again back to the basics of what we know about viruses.  A virus has to run its course…kinda… to an extent. But, we do have access to natural antiviral herbs to inhibit it. Antiviral herbs inhibit the development of viruses. So they don’t kill like an antibiotic –  but inhibit. Many of the best antiviral herbs also boost the immune system which allows the body to attack viral pathogens. There are soooo many antivirals – but my favorite go-to antiviral herbs are:

a. Lomatium dissecutim and Pau D’ Arco (VIVI – Viroxx by Systemic Formulas) 
b. Garlic – highly effective helping rid some of the most common and rarest infections, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, thrush and herpes. (Allicidian from PRlabs)
c. Astragalus and beta glucans – (Immune Restore by Neurobiologix)
d. Oregano – It’s the carvacrol that reverses viral infections (A.D.P by Biotics – this tablet can also be sucked on to coat the throat and gets into the nasal passage for further immune support.  Thanks Dr. VanNoy for that tip)
e. Biodicin by Bio-Botanical Research – This product is a little gem. It has multiple antiviral herbs in it – Garlic, Grape Seed extract, Black Walnut, Tea Tree oil, Galbanum oil, Lavender oil, and Oregano oil to name a few.
f. Nitric Oxide (NO) – This is an interesting product! NO inhibits viral protein and RNA synthesis. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that NO generated by inducible nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that produces NO, inhibits the SARS CoV replication cycle.(10)

2. Reducing Inflammation in the Lungs.
a. Quercetin – It thins mucus in the lungs, reduces lung inflammation and improves lung function. (D-HIST and D-HiST JR for kids) (1)( 2) 
b. NAC – n-acetyl cysteine can relieve symptoms of respiratory conditions by acting as an antioxidant and expectorant, loosening mucus in your air passageways. NAC helps reduce inflammation in your bronchial tubes and lung tissue. (3)

3.
Lung Support – If you have a history of asthma, allergies, or lung ailments, consider supporting the lungs.

a. Pneumotrophin PMG  by Standard Process – it provides a unique profile of minerals, nucleotides, and peptides that repair and rebuild the lung tissue.  
b. Or Allerplex by Standard Process – Supports the body’s natural ability to manage mucus movement, supports healthy liver function, supports healthy lung and respiratory function (12)
c. Vitamin D – Vitamin D appears capable of inhibiting pulmonary inflammatory responses while enhancing innate defence mechanisms against respiratory pathogens. Population-based studies showing an association between circulating vitamin D levels and lung function. (13)

4. Nasal Flushes / Neti Pot / Inhaling Oils 

a. Nasal Rinses – While we do not know if nasal irrigation makes a difference for prevention of COVID-19, I believe that one of the MOST preventive things you can do for any viral respiratory illness is to irrigate your nasal passages with saline. One study found that people who did preventive daily nasal irrigation had significantly fewer episodes of upper respiratory symptoms, shorter symptom duration and fewer days with nasal symptoms compared to those who did not irrigate their nose daily. (5) (6)
b. Essential oils – I have found oils like peppermint and eucalyptus either diffused or used in a humidifier or even in a hot bath will help open up the lung airways. A study in Respiratory Research showed that cineole, the main constituent of eucalyptus essential oil, actually reduced exacerbations in people with COPD. It also reduced shortness of breath, and improved lung function, as well as health status overall. Furthermore, the research suggested that cineole is an active controller and reducer of airway inflammation.  **Eucalyptus oil should not be used in children under 10, and peppermint not used for children under 6. (7)(8)


5. Gut Health – 80% of our immune system is in the gut, these yogurt commercials latched on to some great marketing, and the truth! 

 

a. Probiotics – So basic, but so important to increase immunity and prevent other infections. (I like several great ones – Probiotic boost by Neurobiologix, Siboitica by Apex Energetics, and Megasporebiotic by Microbiome labs. Over the counter there is 1 good brand most grocery stores carry that I like, it is Jarro) 
b. Gut Repair / Restore –  L-glutamine, an amino acid (Infinity Restore by Apex Energetics), Colostrum (Bowel Restore by Neurobiologix), and Immunoglobulins (in mega-mucosa by microbiome labs)


6. Immune / Antioxidants – antioxidants act like little pacmans and go around and eat up free radicals (bad guys). Increase foods with and take supplements for vitamins A, C, E, D, Zinc, and Glutathione. There is a lot circulating around social media right now that Vitamin C or D cures a virus!!!  Like It’s brand new news… I don’t like and would not use the word ‘cure’ but these are good supports to make you stronger than it. See below:


a. Vitamin D – Vitamin D appears capable of inhibiting pulmonary inflammatory responses while enhancing innate defence mechanisms against respiratory pathogens. Population-based studies showing an association between circulating vitamin D levels and lung function. (13)
b. Vitamin C – vitamin C shows in vivo antiviral immune responses at the early time of infection, especially against influenza virus, through increased production.  Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C. (14) (15) Please note mega doses would need to be an IV and Vitamin C can cause loose stools, and well quite frankly I am not trying to add to the TP shortage!  So let’s look at supporting immunity with oral Vitamin C. (I like Thorne’s Vitamin C 5000 mg and Cataplex C by Standard Process)
c. ADEK by Apex Energetics has Vitamins A, C, E, and K
d. Zinc Liver Chelate by Standard Process
e. AC Glutathione by Apex Energetics or a Liposomal Glutathione there are many that are great! 
f. Reishi Immune by PRLabs – Reishi Immune contains unique, rare polysaccharides which have been proven to increase the RNA and DNA in the bone marrow, where the body makes B cells. Studies show that it promotes both B cells and T cells, specialized cells that are a critical part of the immune system. 


7. Adrenal support – Let’s face it, this is stressful. And I am certain if we do not take care of our adrenal glands now, we will end up with a society of exhausted, burnt-out adrenal fatigued people. As if that isn’t already a huge problem.  Do what you must to avoid negative thoughts, people, news ect.  This will increase anxiety and stress your adrenal glands. Of course stay informed, safe and smart.  

 

a. Rhodiola – this is a great herb if you are in fight or flight and in panic, can’t sleep ect. (Perque – Adreno Distress Guard) 
b. Ginseng  – Better if you are exhausted and lethargic (Medi Herb Rhodiola & Ginseng)
c. Drenamin by Standard Process or AdrenaVen from PRlabs- I think EVERYONE could benefit from this right now and always! (11)
– Supports adrenal function and helps maintain emotional balance.
– Promotes healthy adrenal gland function
– Encourages a healthy response to everyday environmental stresses and supports immune system response function
– Maintains energy production
– Supports a balanced mood
– Good source of antioxidant vitamin 
AdrenaVen – basically a vegan version of the above Drenamin to help support adrenal glands.  

8. Rest – a sick body needs plenty of downtime to heal. Refraining from physical activity and getting enough bed rest allows the body to focus on repairing itself, rather than using energy to power the muscles. 

9. Nutrition – eating a varied diet rich in whole-food choices may help the body heal. Avoid processed sugar as it is inflammatory and feeds the bugs. Avoid dairy as it is mucus forming, and really avoid ALL processed foods. Stick to fruits, vegetables, proteins, and good fats. Nourish your body to give it fuel to fight! 

10. Adequate liquid intake is essential. Maintaining good fluid intake is an important part of
recovering from a cold. Drinking water will help with chest congestion because staying hydrated keeps the mucus in your body thin and loose. Mucus will then be able to move easily through your sinuses and air passages. (4)  

To stay hydrated add a pinch of sea salt to every other glass of water to increase minerals and pH. Just a pinch, it doesn’t have to taste like you are drinking from the ocean. Water, soups, vegetable broths or bone broths are all easy ways to increase the liquid intake while recovering and preventing pneumonia.
This is a ton of info I know – I can put together a crisis care package for you based on what we have in stock if needed.

My definite 5 would be:

  • Antiviral  
  • Lung Support
  • Gut Support
  • Adrenal Support 
  • Antioxidants 

For most of the above items, in order to get a therapeutic dose you have to purchase them through a licensed practitioner. People’s Pharmacy, here in Austin, is another resource that carries some of the listed items in therapeutic doses. *If you buy them on Amazon or somewhere else over the counter, I cannot speak to the effectiveness or that the dose is strong enough to help support you.

Again, please have grace with our team. They are pivoting fast, working long hours to get items out to you, and striving to keep us going and you healthy.

I know this was a long one! Thank you for hanging in there and reading it all, pass it on to anyone exposed or suffering. Reach out to your neighbors, or elderly, or people living alone just to check on them and say hi. These are uncharted waters and the waves are high right now, but we are in this together.

“If the ocean can calm itself, so can you.  We are both salt water mixed with air” -Nayyirah Waheed

Stay Calm
Stay Safe
Stay Well
Dr. Tenesha